National, News

Police manhandle UoJ female students

By Rehan Ajuet Moun


A group of female students at the University of Juba (UoJ) have alleged that police personnel forcefully broke into their hostel and assaulted them, leaving some with broken teeth and ribs.

According to one of the victims, the incident occurred after the university administration hiked the hostel fee from 20,000 to 50,000 South Sudanese pounds per student.

The students protested the increase, citing poor hostel conditions and lack of basic amenities like water and electricity.

“We were seriously beaten, and others’ teeth [were] broken and others, rips are broken yesterday,” one of the victims who chose to remain anonymous told No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper.

At least about four female students suffered serious injuries and some of their teeth got knocked out during the skirmish.

An undergraduate who preferred to remain nameless due to the sensitivity of the matter said the police officers forced their way into the female hostel, firing gunshots in the air.

The student likened the incident to a “mafia” style invasion, causing shock waves among the UoJ community.

“With the increase they [students] were demanding the renovation of the hall because some rooms allowed water in when it rains,” the source added.

However, the Juba varsity management turned a deaf ear to their demands and rather the dean college of the student Union allegedly opened a case and dispatched police to the hostel, without prior notice.

“Police [in 4 pickups], who broke the gate, and we heard the gunshot, from there we were all surprised and tried to run for safety. Unfortunately, police started beating us and took us to police headquarters in Buluk,” the source narrated.

She rued about the police brutality when students did not protest but demanded service delivery to match the requested hostel fees the administration was imposing on them.

“People should not misunderstand it, we are not criminals but asking for our right to be implemented by school administration if we are considered as the main part of this institution [UoJ,” she noted.

To her, police nabbed about fifty-three students, and tortured them before they were released afterwards.

Besides, an angry student questioned the Vice-Chancellor’s silence over the matter despite the inhumane act by the law enforcement agency.

The University Administration later issued a statement clarifying that the police were called after the student became violent and detained three female guards of the institution including a child.

It said efforts to negotiate for a peace settlement were met with anger as the students continued to pelt officers, forcing the police to use force to apprehend the rowdy students.

The University said it is conducting a full investigation to find out exactly what happened and the genesis of the problem.

Meanwhile, the Centre for Peace and Advocacy (CPA) condemned the “unlawful arrest of the female students over unpaid ‘hostel dues'” and called on the Inspector General of Police to take action against the officers involved.

“CPA is deeply concerned about the lack of proper procedures followed in the arrest of these female students,” partly read a statement.

CPA also appealed to the UoJ administration to be considerate of the country’s economic crisis, which is putting a strain on parents.

When contacted, the police spokesperson, Maj-Gen Daniel Justine, said he was unaware of the incident but promised to look into it.

However, subsequent attempts by the No.1 Citizen Newspaper to reach him were unsuccessful.

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